Followers of the Greenbrier Valley Aquatic Center progress gathered at Greenbrier Valley Theatre on Monday, Jan. 7, to hear updates about the project. Tag Galyean of TAG Studio spearheaded the educational seminar and answered questions offered by community members.
“To date, this is a very popular idea,” said Galyean, “I think it’s doable, and I think it’ll take the whole Greenbrier Valley community to do it.”
The Greenbrier Valley Aquatic Center (GVAC) is a state-of-the-art swimming facility designed by Greenbrier East High School engineering students over the past several years, with assistance from Galyean and their teacher Kevin Warfield.
The center would have three state-of-the-art pools, a seven-foot-deep, 25-meter-long competition pool, a 30’x50’ recreation pool with ramp entry, and a 12’x20’ therapy spa pool. A “splash dish” for young children is also included in the plans. The 22,400-square foot facility would have fold-out bleachers in the competition pool room for visitors, a party room and senior room (both rentable for a fee) with access to the kitchen, a cardio room, ladies and men’s changing rooms, a cold deluge shower, sun deck, and a summer concession stand with terrace access. The proposed center would be located on a plot of land generously provided by the State Fair of West Virginia, located in the fair parking lot on the right-hand side, behind the RV parking and close to the Greenbrier East Cross Country track.
The last community meeting about the project was held in May 2018, when students tested the water about how residents felt about such an addition to the community. Met with resounding support, and several donations, the project has been steadily moving forward over the past several months.
Galyean said that since May, the Greenbrier Valley Aquatic Center Corporation has been formed, the Lewisburg Foundation has stepped in to start an incubator account for the project, and the corporation has officially applied for their 501(c)3 status. The financial goals of the center remain the same, with only a minor addition being added to the $5.7 million budget since May.
“We included potential pre-development costs, as well as training costs, which bumped the overall project budget up to $6 million,” said Galyean. Once operational, the facility still plans to have a $90,000 operating surplus every year if the projected numbers are correct. “Our goal is to build this with no debt, and without having to borrow any money against revenue,” Galyean emphasized. For a $6 million project, that’s not an easy feat.
As of now, 37.15 percent of the $6 million has been raised. This includes donations from individuals and local businesses. There have been 78 donations made by 308 individuals for a total of $175,253, $1,990,000 pledged in naming reservations, and $238,743 pledged by committed founders.
“If this fundraising was a 26 mile marathon, we are approaching the 10 mile marker,” said Galyean. The corporation is aiming to target area businesses, professionals, clubs, and associations to work toward their monetary goal. He estimates that construction bids will be received in early 2020, construction will start in mid-2020, and that by summer of 2021 the facility will be open for business.
Anyone wanting to donate to the project may do so either through pledging, or by making a single donation. Donations can be made to GVAC-Lewisburg Foundation, Box 1755, Lewisburg, WV 24901 or delivered to TAG Studio at 674 Church St., Lewisburg. Pledge cards may be obtained from Galyean at the same address. Visit www.gvaquaticcenter.com for more information and to subscribe to their informative newsletters.